March 4—From 1-4 p.m., the Office of Career Services and Internships hosted the 2020 Career Exposition. The event took place in the Campus Center Ballroom, and was presented in an open-house format, featuring tables from about 100 companies. The companies and organizations that were represented ranged from the United States Army, to Massachusetts General Hospital, to Fidelity Investments.
Upon exiting the main elevators on the third floor, students were greeted by members of the Career Services team who helped check them into the event and provided them with name tags. Upon entering the ballroom, students could hang up their jackets and backpacks, and get ready to begin making connections with potential employers.
The Ballroom was packed with rows of employers' tables, and was full of students who were, for the most part, dressed professionally. Matthew Power-Koch, or “PK,” Manager of University Internships in Career Services, said in an interview: “We’ll probably have between 500 and 650 students come through the door, that’s what we’ve had in the past.” A photographer from Monster was set up in the corner of the Ballroom to provide students with free, professional Linkedin profile pictures if they wanted one.
In the interview, PK stated the purpose of the Expo as: “To bring our employer partners and employers that are targeting our talented and diverse students here to campus, so that our students can network, engage, and connect with employers that are actively seeking to recruit opportunities, jobs, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities.” PK expressed much pride in UMass Boston’s diversity, stating that the diversity had been “work[ed] now into some of our promotional materials and marketing materials.” He spoke to diversity not only among ethnic groups, but stating that students at UMass Boston come from “all walks of life.” PK said that while explaining to employers why they should hire UMass Boston students, he emphasizes that UMass Boston students will “quite frankly, out-work other potential [employees].”
When asked what the benefit of attending the Career Expo was for students, PK explained that “what you put into it is what you get out of it.” He stressed the importance of being in the Handshake job database, which lists job and internship opportunities, and is “how students can become aware and do research about the employers that are going to be here.” PK stated: “if you just show up, you didn't come dressed for success, and you didn't bring a resume and you're just kind of walking around, the likelihood of some follow-through happening is maybe not that great. But, if you [come] prepared, you're taking advantage of opportunities, and you're making sure to follow up after, that's how you can really maximize the networking event such as this.”
Students appeared to be making connections with potential employers across many different booths. When asked about his experience at the Career Expo, one student, Avi, remarked: “[it is a] pretty fast pitch/meeting type of thing, but it seems okay, I like it in general.” When asked about what could be improved, Avi responded that the event could take place in a “bigger place.” When asked about potential improvements, another student, Amber, said: “I think like it would be better, if they like, arranged like, which majors, and then which row [of tables] is that.”
In preparation for the event, the Office of Career Services and Internships sent out several emails advertising and providing the details for the Expo. The Office also provided Resume Quick Checks on the Monday prior to the event so students could have a member of the Career Services staff look over their resumes. During his interview, PK mentioned that “we [the Office of Career Services and Internships] often say, come and see us in career services early and often.” The Office of Career Services and Internships is located on the first floor of Campus Center in Suite 1300, and offers drop-in services 5 days a week. Further details can be obtained on their website, at: https://www.umb.edu/academics/vpass/career_services/contact.